Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Seeing Is Believing

Summer has arrived and the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

continues on.

Last time I wrote about my own life with technology:

When It Rains It Pours

This week I get personal, I guess.

***

Q: Are there ways that disability affects your self perception?

A: How do I perceive myself?

Good question.

🙂

Disability definitely influences how I see myself. How could it not?

That’s the key word: “see”. How I see myself when I can not even see myself in a mirror.

I actually wrote a post about this topic last year:

Mirror Image,

where I wrote about how I see myself and the social norms of makeup, beauty, and fashion and my attempts to discover my own norms.

I held my grade eight graduation picture in my hands and stared at my face. I knew that a picture was simply a flat representation of what I was, that I was more than some one-dimensional image in a frame. I couldn’t quite believe that was what I looked like, photographed like though.

I could make out my broad smile and my relatively short haircut that framed my face.

I don’t know why, but I used to silently study the photo, often in my room. I don’t know what I was looking for exactly.

Perhaps I was simply vane.

Okay, maybe not, but I can’t quite describe what I was trying to accomplish by this act.

I remember snippets of what I look like. I have flashes, in my mind, to what I used to see when I would look in the mirror.

Mostly I did not see enough detail to pick myself apart, as so many women do. I saw my face and hair and shoulders in the reflective surface, in a bathroom somewhere, and I did not shy away at the Me looking back.

Women rip apart their physical selves so often and I am not immune to that, not entirely. I wish I were.

Merriam-Webster defines it as: “the idea you have about the kind of person you are”.

I know, logically and in my own heart, that I am a kind, generous, and friendly person. I know I am fun and can be funny from time to time.

Perceptions, however, they aren’t quite so logical I’m afraid. I wish they were because they are able to play tricks on me. These perceptions slip in and, before I know it, I am thinking things about myself that likely are just plain untruths.

Like my exaggerated perception that makeup would make me look like a clown, other strange and incorrect perceptions plague my thoughts.

Both self perception and self esteem are so intermingled. They involve the senses, mostly seeing for people. I go by my other senses to gage ideas about my own body and how I present my best self to the world.

I trace the shape of my nose, my eyebrows, and my skin to look for acne, of which I am happy to be rid of for the most part. The skin that was once covered in bumps as a teenager is mostly smooth now.

I am left with other worries that have replaced the pimples of my youth. I wish I had less of one feature and more of another.

I hate having frizzy hair or rough nails.

How does my face compare to all those of the women who are populating the rest of the world, makeup included?

I could focus on my imperfections all day and it’s not like the mirror is going to help with that or hurt it. The scale would talk to me if I wanted it to, but the only mirror that ever spoke to me was the toy Beauty and the Beast mirror I once had.

Sometimes I think the two cancel each other out somehow, that I should be okay then, but the nagging self-image exaggerations bleed into the good personality traits I know I possess.

The negative brings down any positives I’ve managed to accumulate.

I’m left with doubts that anyone could stand the sight of me, the part they can see and I can not.

I feel my beating heart inside my chest, under my hand, and I know that the good person I am inside is in tact.

If only I could convince myself that I am normal in my outward appearance.

If I could stop the shame that has built up over years then maybe I could be sure my first impressions, of which I am at a constant disadvantage to other people who see. When I meet someone I am strongly aware of the upper hand they have over me, as I try to show what a confident person I am and learn as much as I can about them, other than the exterior things most of us fall back on.

Sometimes I feel I am invisible and the next second I am terrified of how much I stand out.

I don’t know where this all might lead me going forward. My future is as uncertain as anyone’s, but will any of this get easier with age and general wisdom?

I can only hope so, but the perceptions will always exist. What’s a girl to do?

***

May I make a suggestion?

Follow:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Project on Facebook,

to help our little page grow.

🙂

Next week’s question:
Do you see disability as more of an asset or a drawback in your daily life?

Guess we’ll see how I’m feeling in a week.

🙂

Sometimes it depends on the day and my answer may change a dozen times between now and then.

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4 thoughts on “Seeing Is Believing

  1. loricarlson66 says:

    Wonderful post! I am looking forward to this question when I finally get to it as my perception of self is very eschewed… Looking forward to more of your posts 🙂

  2. Pingback: Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter | Her Headache

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